Galway ‘ignored’ in broadband for towns project

A Galway TD has claimed that the county has been ‘virtually ignored’ in the much trumpeted announcement of a new rollout of broadband to towns around the country.

Outside of the city, not one Galway town is among the 50 selected to benefit from high speed broadband connectivity brought by a joint venture between Vodafone and the ESB – the first ten towns to benefit were named last week.

The new broadband company, called Siro, is to invest €450m in bringing high speed fibre optic broadband cables directly to 500,000 homes and premises in regional towns around the country.

But Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish said that the new venture represented a lost opportunity to give towns and villages throughout Galway a chance to emerge from the economic doldrums of the past few years.

“All over County Galway there are businesses that find it a daily struggle to cope with poor and unreliable internet connection and it’s seriously affecting the way they can do business.

“How can we hope to attract industry that would bring jobs that towns and villages are crying out for if they can’t even operate on the most basic of levels in terms of connectivity?”

“There are also countless numbers of people commuting to work in the city from all over the county and facing the daily grind of traffic tailbacks on journeys that would be unnecessary  if they had a half decent broadband connection that would enable them to work from home.

“If you look at the map of the country showing all the towns that are to benefit from this high-speed broadband venture, it’s like County Galway is a wilderness totally ignored, with the exception of the city itself.

“You have lots of towns all down the east coast, a big cluster down in Cork and more in the midlands, as well as three in Mayo alone . . . but not one in the county area of Galway.

“It’s an imbalance that must be addressed and I would appeal to the new company to immediately add Galway towns to their list as a priority,” added Deputy Grealish.

The Siro network will be built on the ESB’s existing overground and underground infrastructure and involves bringing a fibre optic cable directly into the user’s home or premises, promising speeds of between 200 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps.

The service will be rolled out to the first ten towns from June, and a complete roll-out to the remaining 40 towns selected is expected to be completed by 2018.